What’s the best time to post on Facebook? When your audience is there, of course.
Finding the best time to post can increase your engagement, your reach, and even your sales.
In this article, I’ll breakdown how to find the times that work best for both your brand and audience.
It’s no secret that Facebook hasn’t exactly made it easy to reach your audience.
But it still remains one of the most powerful social media platforms for marketing.
First of all, Facebook fans are ready to engage, and users leave nearly 5 billion comments on Facebook Pages every month.
They’re also on the site daily – spending roughly half an hour there each day.
And it’s not just for social reasons.
A survey from Curalate found that 52% of participants had found a new retail product on Facebook – and were interested in buying.
This is all great news for brands. Fans are there, they’re engaging, and they’re open to finding businesses.
But in order to reach them, you’ll need to uncover when they’re using Facebook.
First, You Have to Know Your Target Audience
Before you even think about planning a posting schedule, you have to know who you’re talking to.
So begin with the basics and define your target audience.
- What are their demographics? Age? Gender?
- What do they do for a living?
- Where do they live?
- What’s their highest level of education?
By answering those questions and creating a full buyer persona, you should be able to better understand your audience, and even when they may be most likely to use Facebook.
For example, if your target market is college students, you already know they operate on a very different schedule than middle-aged businessmen, and can begin to schedule your posts accordingly.
How Time Zones Affect the Best Times to Post on Facebook
It sounded so simple, didn’t it? Some quick research and a few industry standards and voila, you have your timing figured out.
Until you take nuances like time zones into account, not to mention different countries.
The bad news is it’s almost impossible to account for all factors. If you tried, you would end up sending the same post several times a day – and quickly find your audience slipping.
Instead, we rely on a few industry standards.
You’ll want to schedule your posts based on where the majority of your audience is, and if you cater to a global audience Google Analytics can help you with that.
As far as time zones go, nearly 50% of the U.S. population is in the Eastern Time Zone, and the Eastern and Central time zones combined comprise almost 80% of the population.
Given those numbers, I’d say the Eastern or Central is a safe place to start.
What the Stats Say About the Best Times to Post on Facebook
This isn’t new ground. Companies have been researching the best times to post for years, which has given marketers a lot of valuable information to rely on.
So what do we know about Facebook?
First off, the findings vary.
CoSchedule took it a step further and analyzed 20 different studies, concluding that posts Sundays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays produced the highest engagement.
Beyond that, they report that posts at 3pm get the most clicks, while posts at 1pm get the most engagement.
Given the available information, we can make a few assumptions. Mainly, afternoons are ideal, and Tuesdays don’t produce the same results that other days do.
Save your best content for Thursday – Sunday, and expect to see lower engagement rates mid-week.
Ultimately, these results should serve as general guidelines and a starting off point for businesses new to Facebook; but to get the most accurate read you’ll need to conduct a little research of your own.
As far as frequency goes, you don’t have to worry about sending out constant updates with Facebook. One post a day will cut it.
Experiment with the times above, as well as outside the norm. Over time, you’ll be able to see which times are producing the best results.
Use Tools to Track the Best Times to Post on Facebook
As always, analytics are your friend when it comes to account optimization.
Once you’ve begun posting consistently, you’ll be able to draw from your own analytics to determine when your audience is most active and engaged.
The best place to start is Facebook Insights.
To find your page Insights, go to your profile and click Insights at the top of you Page.
To track when your fans are online, you’ll select Posts from the left-hand column. You’ll automatically be given a detailed chart that shows the days and times your fans are most active on Facebook.
The averages will be displayed, and you can hover your mouse over a specific to see how that day’s activity compares to the average.
From this data, you’ll be able to determine the best time slots to target the biggest number of fans.
In your Insights, you’ll also be able to see the timing of your most successful posts. You’ll start in the same place – the Posts section of Page Insights – and select All Posts Published under the chart.
The Published column will tell you the exact date and time each post was published. Using this data, you can sort through and start to identify and common themes or trends regarding publishing times and higher engagement rates.
Keep in mind, other tools like Fanpage Karma are also great tools to help keep tabs on your post-performance, and it’s often a good idea to compare the findings between the two.
Once you begin to get a clearer picture of when your fans are online and how it correlates with your post engagement, you can start to test your theories.
The most effective way to start is by using an automation tool.
Schedule Your Posts Using Social Media Automation
Now, it is possible to simply post all updates yourself. But because scheduling and timing are so crucial to engagement, take the pressure off by loading your updates into an automation platform.
There are plenty to choose from, but my personal favorite is MeetEdgar.
Once you’ve created an account and connected your social media accounts, you’ll create different categories for your posts (educational, blog posts, tips, questions, etc.) and enter your content.
There, you’ll be able to use the schedule settings to choose the exact day and time you would like your post to run.
Here’s the cool part. Once you’ve submitted your post, MeetEdgar will recycle it in your content queue based on category, unless you specify a date to stop running the post.
This way, you’ll have your posts lined up to run on schedule – and continue to run on the days you don’t have time to update.
What About Ads?
Running ads on Facebook is an extremely effective way to reach your audience.
Considering how difficult it is for businesses to find success on purely organic posts, running ads can may be your best bet for success.
According to Facebook, the cheapest days to run ads are Sunday and Monday. These days see the lowest cost per click, while Friday’s had the highest.
Given what we know from the surveys above, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. And just because they’re the cheapest days doesn’t mean they’re the best for your business.
Clearly, Facebook’s clicks cost the most because it’s such a popular day, which means the potential for more traffic from your ad.
Depending on your budget, you’ll again want to run tests and experiments to find which days prove most valuable.
Remember, There May Not be One Best Time to Post on Facebook
Despite all the data in the world, it’s nearly impossible to draw definite conclusions.
With 2.07 billion monthly active users, Facebook has more users than any other social media platform.
It’s a blessing and a curse. Yes, at least part of your audience is almost sure to be there. But so is every other business trying to target them.
Increased competition means less exposure for your brand (On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook!)
With such fierce competition, the most popular times to post could actually be the worst for business, as you’re that much more likely to get lost in the shuffle.
But all that means is that it’s increasingly important for you to rely on your own analytics and engagement rates to narrow down the times that work best for you.
So when is the best time to post on Facebook? There’s no one size fits all answer.
There are more popular times overall, and those are a good jumping off point when composing your own schedule.
From there, you can analyze and tweak as needed as you become more familiar with your audience and when they’re most active.
Remember, factors like time zone make a difference, and you should always rely on analytics